Tucker was NOT afraid of some stupid ghost. He wasn't about to go screaming out the house when the lights flickered or have a panic attack when he came home and the chairs were stacked intricately on the dining room table. And he definitely DID NOT call his mother when he heard Junior talking to his ‘imaginary friend.’ He did none of those things because he was the manliest man to have ever manned.
Except that one month when he totally did all of those things.
The house didn't start out haunted, Tucker didn't think. It was a nice new place in a developing neighborhood and he was the first person to have ever lived there. His mother helped him buy the place so that he would have a nice place to raise his son and give him the childhood that he deserved. And sure, he had heard from his neighbors that strange things were happening in their houses but he didn't really care about them.
His house was never supposed to be haunted. His ass was not ready to deal with that.
After hearing all of his neighbors stories he may or may not have started to binge watch any show about ghost that he could find. He started to look online for more ghost stories when he got bored with the shows and he watched video after video on Youtube about ghosts caught on tape. He wasn't the time to actually believe in ghosts; he was a healthy skeptic about them. He would believe in them when he saw one with his own two eyes. And he saw. Oh boy, did he see.
It started out with little things going missing. Like his toothbrush or his left shoe. At first he thought that junior was playing games with him, he did like to do that from time to time. Then things started to get misplaced. He would have just assumed that it was Junior gain but the items would appear in places that Junior couldn't reach or didn't even know about. By then he was kinda worried. Maybe his neighbor was playing tricks on him. Kacey was a bit of a trickster but she would also never break into someone's house. York was too nice a guy to ever do something like that and be able to keep it a secret. And Grill, well, he had to have someone wipe his ass for him so Tucker doubted that he would be able to break into his house let alone move any of his shit. It wasn't until the furniture started moving that he started to really freak out.
Tucker came home one night to find that his entire living room had been rearranged. The couch was upside down and leaning against the wall. The TV was laying face down on the floor and the rug was velcroed to the ceiling. The fucking ceiling. That just made Tucker mad. What ghost had enough energy to figure out how to stick his carpet on the damn ceiling? Tucker was going to punch that ghost in the fucking face.
“I'm going to punch you in the fucking face, you dumb bastard!” he screamed. Sure, he knew he couldn't actually punch a ghost in the face. But he sure was going to stay in that house out of spite.
The next day he came home to the dining room chairs stacked on the table and a message written on the wall in what looked like blood. He definitely did not screech like a girl and lock himself in the bathroom until the panic when away. If anyone ever said he did they are dumb and also liars.
After he calmed down and got himself together enough to remember that he had to clean up the mess the ghost left for him before he had to pick up Junior from his mother's house. While carefully cleaning he discovered the bloody message was actually written in ketchup. His ketchup. He knew it was his because it was poorly hidden behind one of the legs of his dining room table. The ghost didn't even have the decency to put his ketchup back after he was done using it. How inconsiderate.
Not that haunting a single father trying his best was very considerate, but because the stupid ghost decided to fuck all of his shit he had to go out and but more ketchup.
There was a week where nothing happened. No furniture moved or ketchup messages or toothbrushes gone missing. That week of dead silence, pun intended, gave Tucker the hope that whatever entity that had been haunting him had finally given up. He was wrong.
It was the following Tuesday that he heard his son running around in his room. It was almost midnight and Tucker was trying to get through some work that he didn't get to finish at the office. He was tired and annoyed and didn't have the patience to handle having to put his son back to bed. Regardless, he put on his best dad face and quietly made his way to his sons room, not wanting to give him warning that he was coming. He stopped just outside of the door and was about to open it when he heard Junior talking to someone- or something. Tucker, of course, new that it was normal for kids to have imaginary friends or to talk to their toys and have made up conversations with them. He did know this. But after having watched “Paranormal Activity” 1-3 about 15 times each in the past month that fact slipped his mind.
He quickly swung the door open and loudly asked who his son was talking to. Junior jumped and fear crossed his face before he realized that his father wasn't scolding him for being out of bed.
“Toby” He answered quietly, still not sure if he was going to be in trouble.
That's when Tucker mentally lost his shit. He had enough of it together to know that he couldn't lose his shit in front of his son so he quickly told Junior to go to bed and rushed back to his room to call his mother. He explained to her that he was freaking out because Junior was talking to the demonic entity from Paranormal Activity.
“Vern, baby, how many times do I have to tell you their is no such thing as ghosts?” His mother sighed, it was midnight and he had woken her from her sleep but she still held the same patient and caring tone she always did.
“I know, I know, ma. But you don't get it! He was just in their talking to nobody! No, not nobody! He was in their talking to Toby! The fucking demon from the movie!” Tucker told her, barely taking a breath between his words.
“Sorry ma, I’m just really freaked out right now.” Tucker sighed and took deep breathes to try and calm himself. His mother didn't like to hear him curse but sometimes he forgot to run his thoughts through the “Mother Appropriate” filter before it came out of his mouth.
“I know Vern, but Junior has been talking to his imaginary friend for a while now, since before you moved into that God forsaken house, you know this. You're the one who told him to name it Toby in the first place.”
She was right. He told his son to name his imaginary friend Toby after the first time he watched Paranormal Activity. He thought it was funny at the time but it was days like then when that decision really made him hate himself.
“Yeah I know ma.” He answered with another sigh.
“Get some sleep baby, I know you've been having a tough time lately.”
“Yeah, you're right. I just need to get some sleep,” he nodded to himself. “Thanks mom, love you too.”
“Love you too Lavernius. Goodnight baby.” Tucker replied a quick goodnight before hanging up the phone and heading off to bed.
There was someone- or something- in the house. It was Friday and Tucker got off work early, but when he walked through the door he could sense that someone was either there or had been their recently. One of the windows in the living room was wide open the the furniture was moved around but not in the usual way the ghost moved it. Even though the furniture and things moved around it was never in a disorganized way. It was more like the ghost just wanted to redecorate the house for him or something. And while the sight of the state of the living room would have alarmed any other person that maybe he was being haunted by a human all this time, the thought hadn't even crossed Tuckers mind.
Tucker went about putting all of his things back in place while angrily mumbling to himself, a habit he had gotten into when the the ghost decided to come and ruin his life. After he arranged everything back to the way it was before he shut the window and continued the rest of his day as he normally would. Later that night when he was sitting on his bed checking up on his friends on various social media sights he began to think about how strange his house being ‘haunted’ was.
The ghost never performed any antics when he was awake or home, it was all simple things. Things that a human could pull off. It wasn't until that moment that Tucker realized that the ghost had never once before left his window open, but he did remember the curtains being pulled back even though he had left them closed. And he remembered how he never, not once, locked his windows.
To say that Tucker felt like the stupidest idiot to have every been fake haunted ever would be an understatement.
While he was almost positive that his new theory about the Human Haunter was correct, he needed to be sure. The next morning he called in sick and dropped Junior off at his mothers before heading to the store to buy cameras. He was totally going to do the cliche thing and hide cameras around his house. Tucker was secretly really excited about it, his life felt like a real life movie and he liked it. Well, now he did, before when he thought that a ghost was going to kill him and brain wash his kid it was not any fun at all. But now Tucker was having more fun than he had in a long while.
He spent the whole day placing the cameras around the house. He was upstairs fighting with the camera he was trying to mount in the corner of the room when he heard scraping.
He held his breath, waiting for another sound to make sure he wasn't going crazy.
Tucker heard it two more times before he decided to sneak down stairs to see what was going on. At this point, Tucker reasoned, the situation could play out in two ways:
1. There actually was a ghost and he would see (or not see) an entity of pure death and evil moving all of his stuff around the room. The thing would sense his presence and try to kill him. Assuming that he somehow got away alive and not sobbing, he would have to call the police and have them laugh in his face before he cried (in the most manly way possible) to his mother and stayed with her until someone else bought the god-forsaken house. Or.
2. There was an actual living human being in his house moving all of his stuff and stealing from him. Then that person would notice him and try to kill him. Assuming that he somehow made it out alive he would have to call the police and cry (not in a manly way) to his mother and stay with her until someone else bought the damn house because he had a child and he couldn't live in a bad neighborhood.
Either way he could get killed or have to live with his mother. Great.
The lights in the living room had been turned on and the first thing that Tucker saw, when he was trying to creep down the stairs quietly, was that the window was open and the curtains were pulled back. He was dealing with a human. This was only confirmed when the man passed by the stairs and into the kitchen. Tucker heard a can pop open and fizz.
Just great! Not only did this stupid person break into his house and move around all of his shit, he was also stealing his drinks! That was it, Tucker had had just about enough of this bullshit. Without much thought or any planning Tucker stood up and barreled down the stairs and into the kitchen.
“Now you listen to me bitch,” Tucker yelled as he walked in and started pointing at the guy who had an orange soda can halfway to his lips. “You can't just come in here and move my shit around and start drinking a man's soda!” Tucker slapped his hands to his side like a child. “I mean, what kind of bull shit is that! You haunt me for months and fuck with all of my shit and now you're drinking my soda?!” Tucker pointed at the man again. “I paid good, hard earned money for that soda!” He yelled again.
The man standing in his kitchen blinked at him a few times. He had blond hair that was brown at the roots and graying at the sides. His gray shirt had yellow trims and dog tags hung lazily from the chain around his neck.
Tucker huffed, trying to get his breath back to start yelling at the guy again. “Who the fuck are you anyway? And why the fuck are you in my damn house?” Tucker demanded.
“I, uh.” The man put the can of the counter and cleared his throat. “Im Wash. I-” he pointed behind him with his thumb. “I live with York across the street.”
Tucker stared at him for a minute, he had never seen this guy in his life. Tucker didn't even know that York was living with anyone. He knew a girl with red hair went over there frequently but he had never seen anyone else enter or exit that place that York did not tell him about beforehand. Why wouldn't he mention that he had a roommate?
“Bullshit.” Tucker said simply. Wash looked baffled for a moment, looking around to make sure that the statement was directed at him.
“I'm not lying.” he finally replied. “He never introduced us because he wanted to mess with you.” Wash started to search his pockets. “He's been paying me two hundred a week to come and mess with you. Said you were a big believer in ghosts and wanted to fuck with you.”
Tucker stared at him blankly, still trying to process the information Wash fed him. “He….WHAT? That bastard!” Tucker threw his hands into his sides and started pacing as he ranted to Wash, who was still standing awkwardly by the counter.
“I told him everything that was going on! I told him about my stuff going missing and the furniture moving and.. JUNIOR! I told him about Junior talking to the fucking ghost! And you know what he said?” Tucker looked expectantly at Wash.
“I-” Wash started weakly.
“Ill tell you what he fucking said!” Tucker went back to pacing. “He said “Of don't worry Tucker all kids have imaginary friends. You're not haunted, you're just overthinking it.” That's what he fucking said!”
“Uh,” Wash laughed awkwardly. “Yeah, that sounds like him.”
Tucker stopped and stared at Wash for a moment before walking over to him and getting close in his face. “What the fuck are you still here for?”
“I..” Wash listed his arm and pointed weakly at the can on the counter and smiled at Tucker. “The soda?”